May 23, 2024

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian authorities on Friday said they are in talks with Russia’s government about the return of Indian citizens who were duped into working for the Russian army, a day after a federal investigation agency said it broke up a human trafficking network that lured people to Russia under the pretext of giving them jobs.

India’s foreign ministry said the government has initiated action against a network of agents who duped the men into traveling to Russia.

“We remain committed to the early release of our nationals serving as support staff with the Russian army and their eventual return home,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in New Delhi.

Jaiswal urged Indian citizens not to be deceived by offers by agents of support jobs with the Russian army.

“This is fraught with danger and risk to life,” he said.

On Thursday, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation said at least 35 Indian nationals have been sent to Russia through the agents. It said the men were recruited through social media and local agents.

It said the men were being trained in combat roles and deployed at front-line bases in the Russia-Ukraine war against their wishes. Some of the men were “grievously injured,” it said.

India’s embassy in Moscow on Wednesday confirmed the death of an Indian citizen in Russia whose family told local media that he was recruited by the Russian army. The embassy did not describe the circumstances behind the man’s death but said it was in touch with his family and Russian authorities.

In January, Nepal asked Russia to send back hundreds of Nepali nationals who were recruited to fight against Ukraine. At least 14 Nepali nationals have died in Ukraine, according to Nepal Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud.

India considers Russia a time-tested ally from the Cold War era with key cooperation in defense, oil, nuclear energy and space exploration.

It has so far avoided voting against Russia at the United Nations or criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin since the invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *